News 12 @ 6 o'clock, May 25, 2010
AUGUSTA --- Fake weed, or "spice", is sold legally in many parts of the country, giving people a legal high. It's marketed as incense in smoke shops in Georgia and South Carolina. But in the Peach State, these products are now illegal.
"People will seek pleasure wherever they can find it," said Dr. John Huffman. Dr. Huffman invented the compound used in spice. He says his compound was never meant for the human body. "It was made to explore the effects of chemical structures on biological activity, period."
He only wanted to test its reaction in mice and in cells. He says one reason people use the compound is to get high, take a drug test and still get or keep a job.
"The metabolites aren't known, and that's what you test for. With THC (in marijuana), there is an oxidation product that sticks around in your fatty tissue and urine and will show up, up to a week later. JWH-018, we don't know what the metabolites are," said Dr. Huffman.
The owner of "Tie Dye Rosies" says as soon at they heard the product was illegal in Georgia, they started taking the steps to get spice off their shelves. But Dr. Huffman says that may not stop users who really want to light up.
"For a chemist, it's easy to make," he said. "It's not like crystal meth that you can make in your kitchen and blow up your house."
And while it may be easy to make, the challenge will now be to find it in Georgia stores now that this once legal high has gone up in smoke.
South Carolina still has no legislation to do away with synthetic marijuana. Georgia joins almost a dozen states who've already banned the product or who are looking into doing away with the product.